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Strawberries & Cream and Almond Joy Cupcakes

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Oh blog, how I’ve missed you. I can’t even recall the last time I posted an actual recipe but don’t worry- I didn’t forget how to bake! And I certainly haven’t stopped. I guess the only thing I can do is try to catch you all up as fast as possible. There really isn’t anything new going on with me other than being home for the summer which is a fantastic feeling. Of course I would manage to leave all of my underwear, socks, etc. in the dresser in my dorm, however. I finished with a 3.6 and got an A on my sociology swine flu research paper though! Hm, what else. I’m back to work at Cosi which is good because I really need to save up this summer. And there’s a bakery about 5 minutes away from Roger Williams in downtown Bristol and I’m praying I can get a job there for the school year.

I just got back from my trip to Rancho Cucamonga, California for my cousin Kannan’s golf tournament and I had a great time…minus the double sunburn. The first night my uncle made his homemade pizza which of course was phenomenal. Fresh mozzarella, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts…with a homemade pizza sauce, of course. We also managed to make our way to Suite 106 Cupcakery which was featured on an episode of Cupcake Wars and Pink’s, where Bobby Flay did a hot dog throw down. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures because I didn’t think I would be able to update my blog for who know’s how long but I can say their cupcakes were pretty good. I was disappointed in the carrot cupcake because it seemed rather dry but their turtle cheesecake and dulce de leche were to die for. Needless to say, it really made me want to open my own bakery. It! Was! Torture!

Anyways, enough about what I’ve been up to and on to the recipe. Today was kind of a “clean out the pantry” day, if you will. I realized there’s no longer any space left on my shelves and I’ve been using the dining room table as my second pantry so it was time to get rid of some stuff that I’ve been holding on to for too long, stuff that I knew I would be able to use for something but I wasn’t sure what at the time I bought it, etc. So this is what came of it. Just as a side note, I threw a lot of ingredients into the strawberry buttercream and not all of them were obviously necessary, they just enhanced the strawberry flavor.

Strawberries & Cream Cupcakes

  • 1 box Pillsbury Strawberry Cake mix
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • Strawberry Cream wafers, finely chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F
  2. Mix the cake mix, vegetable oil, heavy cream, and eggs together until smooth, about 2 minutes
  3. Mix in the finely chopped wafers
  4. Bake for 22 minutes or until slightly browned on top

Strawberry Cream Buttercream

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup strawberry fluff
  • 1/4 cup strawberry mousse mix
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Heavy cream, enough to reach desired consistency
  • Strawberry Cream wafers, finely chopped
  1. Beat the butter and fluff on high speed until light and fluffy
  2. Beat in the strawberry mousse mix
  3. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time
  4. Mix in heavy cream until desired consistency is reached
  5. Garnish with chopped strawberry cream wafers

 

Almond Joy Cupcake

  • 1 box Duncan Hines Butter Fudge Cake mix
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
  • Mini almond joy bars, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F
  2. Beat cake mix, butter, eggs, and water on low speed for 30 seconds. Turn up to medium speed and beat for 4 minutes, until smooth
  3. Mix in the chopped almond joy bars and the coconut
  4. Bake for 20 minutes

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Heavy cream, enough to reach desired consistency
  • Sweetened, flaked coconut
  • Almonds, chopped
  • Mini almond joy bars, cut in half
  1. Beat butter on high speed until light and fluffy
  2. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with some of the Hershey’s Syrup (if desired)
  3. Beat in heavy cream until desired consistency is reached
  4. Garnish with half an almond joy, coconut, and almonds

A Sincere Apology

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I have been getting an endless amount of sweet comments that I’m completely overwhelmed by and I don’t even know how to say thank you for all the support! I started this blog almost a year ago now and I just cannot even believe how many people have taken the time to look through my recipes. It means so much to me and I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you! However, I do have a bit of disappointing news. My computer currently has a virus and as of right now, it is the only way I am able to upload pictures to my blog. That is why I haven’t posted anything new in the longest time and believe me, it’s killing me. I’m officially a week away from the end of my first year at Roger Williams and as soon as all the stress of final papers/exams are over, I promise I will get my computer fixed and bake as much as I can so I can share all of my recipes with you. Until then, wish me luck!

Baking for Japan

Last week, the Asian Student Association at my school was having a bake sale to raise money for Japan and I was asked to bake cookies and cupcakes for the event. The bake sale was a success! They sold everything they had and raised almost $300 :).

For the cookies, I used Martha Stewart’s Ideal Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing recipe and I used a square and heart-shaped fondant cutters to cut out the cookies with. For the cupcakes, my original idea was to bake vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting and dye some of the frosting red to add to the top of the cupcake (to look like Japan’s flag). But unfortunately the cupcakes were a bit last minute and CVS didn’t have food coloring (who would have thought?!) so I ended up buying cherries which I cut in half and placed on top of the cupcake.

Ideal Sugar Cookies

Martha Stewart

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons brandy, or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Royal Icing (Doubled)

All Recipes

  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 egg whites, beaten
  • 1 bottle red food coloring
  1. In a bowl, sift together confectioners’ sugar and cream of tartar. Using electric mixer, beat in 2 beaten egg whites for about 5 minutes or until mixture is thick enough to hold its shape
  2. Set aside half of the icing and mix with the food coloring until bright red. Use this for the dot on the flag cookies and the icing for the heart cookies

Vanilla Cupcakes (Quadrupled)

Adapted from Joy of Baking

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (3.4) ounce packages instant vanilla pudding (use 1 package for each double batch)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 containers store-bought vanilla frosting
  • 1 jar cherries
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F and line muffin cups with paper liners
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and pudding mix in a small bowl. Set aside
  3. In the bowl of electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Beat in vanilla
  4. With mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk in three additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients
  5. Bake for 17-20 minutes and cool on wire rack

Cupcakes!

The heart cookies. Obviously made with the heart fondant cutter

The “with love” cookies, made with the square fondant cutter and black icing

Devil’s Food Cookies

These cookies don’t just have cocoa powder in the mix, but they also have Devil’s Food instant pudding and milk chocolate chips in them (triple the chocolate, triple the fun!). They came out with the texture and consistency of a cookie but they looked kind of like a brownie, so much so that I was tempted to call these “brookies.”

Devil’s Food Cookies

Adapted from Lovin’ From the Oven

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant Devil’s Food pudding mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar, plus more for dipping
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (12 ounce) bag milk chocolate chips
  1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, instant pudding mix, and salt. Set aside
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, 2 cups sugar, and eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix to combine. Gradually add dry ingredients, and combine with mixer on low speed. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and chill until dough is firm, about 1 hour
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with Silpat baking mats. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Dip top of each ball into sugar. Place on prepared baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until set, about 8 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely

Close-up of the batter. I’m not sure if it was the addition of the pudding mix that did it, but it had a very rich chocolatey color to it!

Pre-baked
Post-baked. I told you they looked like brownies!

Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe is definitely not for the faint of heart…I mean come on, heavy cream, whole milk, mozzerella, fontina, and parmesan?! You’re just asking for trouble there. But this is my go-to macaroni and cheese recipe because it’s so full of flavor and just all around comforting (until the next day when you need to go to the gym to work it all off, that is).

Macaroni and Cheese

Giada De Laurentiis

  • Butter, for greasing dish
  • 12 ounces wide egg noodles
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (packed) grated fontina
  • 3/4 cup (packed) finely grated parmesan
  • 3/4 cup (packed) grated mozarella
  • 4 ounces cooked ham, diced, optional
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F
  2. Butter a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Drain well, but do not rinse
  3. Whisk the cream, milk, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in large bowl to blend. Stir in 1 cup Fontina, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, and ham, if using. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Transfer the noodle mixture to the prepared baking dish
  4. Toss the remaining 1 cup Fontina, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/4 cup mozzarella in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the noodle mixture. Top with 1/2 cup panko. Bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheese melts and begins to brown on top, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving

Yep, that’s quite a bit of cheese…

Whisking everything together and coating the noodles
Pre-baked
Post-baked
Just take a minute to take in that crispy texture and creamy goodness. This recipe is definitely a winner in my book!

Merry Christmas!

So I’m sitting here on Christmas FREAKING OUT wondering why the malls are not open!! I got $100 in gift cards at Williams-Sonoma and all I want to do is go crazy in that store. I hope everyone who reads my blog has a wonderful Christmas and gets everything they wished for because I know I sure did! I got a food processor and brand new baking sheets plus an angel food cake pan from my aunt and uncle. My cousin also got me the cutest apron ever and I can’t wait to wear it the next time I bake (which I’m 3873856847% sure will be tomorrow). My mom got me a cookie spritzer I’ve been bugging her for and also a pair of oven mitts which I really needed. My other mom (Kamil’s mom) got me an ice cream maker attachment for my stand mixer and I cannot even tell you how excited I am to start making homemade ice cream!!!! I officially think it’s time for me to make a new wish list, since I seem to have gotten everything on it! But the sweetest gift of all was the pandora bracelet Kamil got me with the cupcake charm on it, it’s just adorable! So again…MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Here I am in front of the Christmas tree all ready to bake with my new apron and over mitts

And I had to post a picture of my cupcake charm! Thank you baby! :*

New name/Graduation

Sooo as you may have noticed, I had to change the name of my blog. I loved the name but it didn’t apply anymore because my parents got me a Kitchenaid 5 QT stand mixer for graduation! Unfortunately I won’t be able to play around with it today because I woke up at 1:30 due to the grad party but tomorrow there will be plenty of new things to blog about!

Congratulations BEHS Sen10rs! We did it! :D

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